Italy’s LegaBasket sides with FIBA as governing body files complaint against ECA

Seven sides from Italy’s LegaBasket have confirmed their participation in next year’s inaugural FIBA Basketball Champions League with the governing body also revealing that they have filed an official complaint against the Euroleague Properties SA, a subsidiary of Euroleague Commercial Assets.

Having originally reported to have sided with the Euroleague via the second tier Eurocup competition, Vanoli Cremona, Sidigas Avellino, Giorgio Tesi Group Pistoia, Umana Reyer Venezia, Openjobmetis Varese, Obiettivo Lavoro Bologna and Consultinvest Pesaro have all signed declarations providing that they will achieve the necessary results in order to qualify.

EA7 Milano will continue to compete in next season’s Euroleague as an A-licenced team. It has also been rumoured that Dinamo Sassari, Trento and Reggio Emilia want to play in the Eurocup, despite reports in the press that the Italian Basketball Federation will threaten to exclude them if they follow suit.

FIBA have also announced that they have filed a complaint against Euroleague Properties SA, a subsidiary of Euroleague Commercial Assets for what they called “anti-competitive behaviour”.

The reasons behind the complaint have been listed below.

  • abusive tying by imposing undue pressure on leagues and clubs, as well as threatening exclusion from Euroleague unless they commit to Eurocup. Such practices were applied in the case of the Adriatic League and other European leagues;
  • a “syndication agreement” circulated among the 11 A license clubs who hold the majority of votes in ECA, meaning that six clubs control ECA, including all Euroleague and Eurocup decisions in sporting and commercial matters;
  • arbitrarily cherry-picking clubs for Euroleague and Eurocup, which means destroying any commercial and sporting value of domestic leagues and undermining the competitive balance in European basketball;
  • abusively discriminating against financially weaker clubs, thereby placing them at a further competitive disadvantage.

But this statement comes when FIBA earlier announced that any nation that decided to side with Euroleague Basketball could face losing their right to compete in international competition.

The FIBA Basketball Champions League is due to begin in September 2016.